March 28, 2013
Ouya Ships First Game Consoles, Announces 3D-Printable Cases
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
What began as a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign last summer has finally resulted in a very real and very shippable product. Ouya, developer of the world´s first indie-friendly, Android-based gaming console, has begun shipping the first of these devices to Kickstarter backers today. The small, boxy console will hit retail shelves later this summer. To celebrate this paradigm-shifting gaming platform, Ouya will be holding a backers-only shindig in the Bay Area this evening. The company has also given one more reason for gamers to buy this $99 console by patterning with everyone´s favorite 3D printing group, MakerBot.Yesterday, MakerBot and Ouya announced that MakerBot owners would be able to print their own 3D cases for the tiny console, thanks to some plans made publicly available on MakerBot´s “Thingiverse” site.
This little case comes equipped with a lid, spring-loaded button and plenty of access to Ouya´s innards. When they first began, one of Ouya´s main intentions was to make the console as open and accessible as possible.
"Ouya is all about being open – from allowing any game developer to make games for the TV to being able to literally open the console with a standard screwdriver," said Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman in a statement.
"It was a natural progression to extend our openness by partnering with MakerBot. What better way to bring Ouya's console to life than letting anyone print and modify it?"
The MakerBot 3D-printable case doesn´t get in the way of this accessibility and leaves plenty of room for beginner-level hackers to replace the stock case with one of their own design.
Though Ouya may be first to this market, they´ll soon be joined by contenders from companies like Gamestick, Nvidia and possibly Valve.
According to the BBC, UK-based Gamestick has said they also plan to offer an Android-based console. Additionally, Nvidia showed off their TV-friendly console during this year´s CES, and even Valve has been widely rumored to be producing their own standalone console soon.
Even if these competitors do enter the market, Uhrman likely won´t be too upset by it. After all, she began the project to bring new consoles into the living room and open up the market for new comers such as herself.
"Console gaming had traditionally been closed to new entrants," Uhrman said, speaking to the BBC.
"That's made it very difficult for small developers to bring titles to the television, and really expensive for gamers [to play]."
Though Ouya has been on a long road to get to where they are today, celebrating the release of their very first consoles, the company has only just begun to change the marketplace with their open mentality.
What´s left to be seen is how the market and competitors respond to such a game-changing console.